Create list of study questions for Thomas Hardy's novel, Tess of the D'Urbervilles that may help students perform several tasks.
1. List themes and symbols you find in this novel. Discuss the significance of each giving examples to support your discussion.
2. What does the parson reveal to Tess's father? Discuss the consequences of this revelation.
3. Discuss Tess's first appearance in the novel. How does her dress prove symbolically important?
4. Describe Angel's actions at the country dance. How do they prove important in retrospect?
5. Describe Tess's home. What is her attitude toward her parents? How do their domestic habits and work ethic contribute to her fate?
6. Why is Tess sent on the journey with the beehives in her father's place?
7. Why is Tess's conversation with Abraham concerning the stars important?
8. What is Mrs. Durbyfield's plan for improving her family's circumstances?
9. Discuss Tess's first meeting with Alec d'Urberville.
10. How did Alec's family acquire the name of d'Urberville? Why is this detail important?
11. How is Tess brought to the d'Urberville household? What is her occupation there?
12. What delays Tess's journey home the night of the fair and market at Trantridge? Why does she accept Alec's offer when she meets him on the road?
13. Why does Alec tell Tess of his generous actions toward her family?
14. How does Tess's ignorance and innocence make her a victim?
15. Though she is a victim, what makes Tess take some responsibility for Alec's actions and their consequences?
16. How does Alec promise to compensate Tess for his behavior?
17. Discuss Mrs. Durbyfield's reaction to Tess's news when she arrives home from Trantridge.
18. What is significant about the Scripture verses painted by the traveler?
19. How do the villagers feel toward Tess after her return to her birthplace and the birth of her baby?
20. Why ...
This list of discussion questions for Thomas Hardy's novel may serve several purposes. It may help students to shape essay topics, form study guides or promote thoughtful discussions.